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FIRE SERVICE 
PHYSICAL FITNESS 
PROCRAMS 



A Summary Report to the 

National Fire Data Center, 

National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 



^>o^>^ 



<v^' 



This report describes fire service physical fitness programs and the benefits to 
be obtained from such programs. The conclusions reached represent those 
of the research investigators and should not necessarily be interpreted to 
represent the opinion of the National Fire Prevention and Control Adminis- 
tration. 



FIRE SERVICE 
PHYSICAL FITNESS 
PROGRAIVIS 



A Summary Report to the 

National Fire Data Center, 

National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 

from International Association of 

Fire Chiefs Foundation, 

Washington, D.C. 



prepared by 

David B. Gratz, Vice President 

International Association of 

Fire Chiefs Foundation 

Dennis H. McCune 
Principal Investigator 

September 1977 



Acknowledgments 



The Fire Service Physical Fitness Programs study performed by the Inter- 
national Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation was supported continuously by 
the untiring cooperation of many individuals and organizations. A portion of 
the analysis, evaluation and reporting included in this final report was accom- 
plished by Robert H. Caless and William P. Donoghue, as partial fulfillment of 
their degree requirements at Worcester Polytechnic's Washington, D.C. Proj- 
ect Center. R. James Barnard, Ph.D., Research Cardiologist at the U.C.L.A. 
School of Medicine was a major contributor to the discussion of the nature 
of physical fitness in Chapter II. 

Important assistance was provided by the International Association of Fire 
Chiefs Foundation Task Force.' This multi-disciplinary group reviewed results 
of the preliminary survey and initial findings. The Task Force also participated 
in preparation of the final report and its recommendations. Terrence W. 
Turner, an International Association of Fire Chiefs (lAFC) Intern assisted with 
the collection and organization of data and Rita Kirvan provided the essential 
secretarial services. 

Throughout the study a variety of staff members at the National Fire Pre- 
vention and Control Administration (NFPCA) provided assistance, particularly 
members of the National Fire Data Center and the National Fire Safetv and 
Research Office. Special appreciation is due Dr. Geraldine Fristrom who 
served as the NFPCA Project Officer. Her continuing counsel and support 
were invaluable. 

Finally, over 1,000 fire departments contributed data in some form, with 
nearly 200 departments responding to a detailed survey. This report would 
not have been possible without their support. 

' See Appendix A. 



Executive Summary 

Upgrading the physical fitness of fire fighters has become a matter of 
increasing concern throughout the fire service. The job of firefighting is ex- 
tremely hazardous and has a high potential for traumatic injuries. In addition, 
coronary artery disease is considered a serious job-related medical problem. 
The International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation conducted a study 
of fire service physical fitness programs under a grant from the National Fire 
Prevention and Control Administration. A representative number of fire 
departments in the United States was examined to determine the type and 
scope of physical fitness programs in use by the fire service and to evaluate 
the effectiveness of these programs in maintaining fire fighter health and 
reducing injuries. 

The study identified fire departments where physical fitness programs 
are currently in use and located departments which had but since have dis- 
continued a physical fitness program. The successful and unsuccessful pro- 
grams were analyzed for the purpose of identifying the components and 
techniques which appeared to contribute to success. 

More than 1,000 fire departments responded to a survey on physical 
fitness programs, with 18% reporting some type of currently active program 
and 11% reporting that they had discontinued their physical fitness program. 
Approximately 70% of the departments surveyed did not have a physical 
fitness program. However, the overwhelming majority of departments which 
had not had a program indicated a strong interest in starting one in the 
near future. 

Why is Physical Fitness Important? 

A recently completed scientific study of the physical capabilities needed 
in the job of the fire fighter concluded that: 

"The successful completion of firefighting tasks requires a physical 
performance profile reflecting youth, high aerobic capacity, high 
muscular strength and endurance, above-average lean body weight 
and minimal body fat," ' 

This same study concluded that as many as two-thirds of the fire fighters do 
not meet this physical performance profile. 

Firefighting is a strenuous occupation. It may tax the individual fire 
fighter at maximum limits for prolonged periods. This requires above average 
strength and endurance. Possessing this above average strength and endur- 
ance means that fire fighters will be less susceptible to fatigue, less likely to 
make mental errors and less likely to be injured. 

Regular exercise can be an effective means of developing these necessary 
capabilities, it also may be an effective adjunct in controlling the heart dis- 
ease problem in fire fighters. Elevated levels of blood cholesterol and tri- 



' Charles O. Dotson, Development of a job-Related Physical Performance Examination for Fire 
Fighters. A summary report to the National Fire Safety and Research Office, National Fire Prevention 
and Control Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. (College Park, MD: 
University of Maryland, 1977) 



Table of Contents 



Page 

Acknowledgments i' 

Executive Summary iii 

List of Tables viii 

I. Introduction 

A. Definitions Used in the Study 

1. Metropolitan Fire Department 

2. Volunteer Fire Department 

3. Paid Fire Department 

B. Methodology of the Study 

II. Physical Fitness and the Fire Fighter 3 

A. Physical Demands of Firefighting 3 

B. Fire Fighters Work Environment 3 

C. Injury and Illness for the Fire Fighter 4 

D. Coronary Artery Disease 4 

E. What is Physical Fitness 6 

1 . Strength 6 

2. Power 6 

3. Endurance 6 

4. Agility 6 

5. Flexibility 6 

F. Summary 7 

III. Fire Service Physical Fitness Programs 9 

A. Preliminary Survey Results 9 

B. Types of Physical Fitness Activities and Programs 9 

1 . Aerobics 10 

2. Canadian 5BX 10 

3. Physical Fitness for Fire Fighters 10 

4. Los Angeles City (CA) Fire Department 11 

5. Charlotte (NC) Fire Department 12 

6. The Apollo Fitness Program 12 

7. Physical Fitness and the Fire Service (NFPA) 13 

C. Program Organization, Implementation and Costs 13 

1. Organization 13 

2. Implementation 14 

3. Program Costs 15 

D. Summary 16 

IV. Developing a Successful Program: 

Observations and Recommendations 17 

A. Observations 17 

B. Developing a Successful Physical Fitness Program 17 

1. Program Concept 17 

2. Program Support 18 

3. Medical Advice 18 

4. Program Supervision 18 

5. Indoctrination and Training 18 

6. Pretesting Personnel 18 



Page 

7. Exercise Program 19 

8. Evaluating the Program 19 

C. Conclusion 19 

Bibliography 21 

Appendix A — -Foundation Task Force 29 

Appendix B — Survey Questionnaires 31 

Appendix C — Fire Departments Selected for Personal Contact 37 

Appendix D — Commercial Physical Fitness Programs 39 

Appendix E — Kasch 12-inch Bench Test 41 

Appendix F — Alexandria, Virginia implementation Costs 43 



LIST OF TABLES 

Page 

I. Fire Fighter Death and injury Statistics 4 

ii. Comparison of On Duty injuries to Number of Fire Fighters and Num- 
ber of incidents for Los Angeles City Fire Department 5 



I. Introduction 



This report is the result of a research project 
conducted by the International Association of 
Fire Chiefs Foundation to examine the state of 
physical fitness programs in the nation's fire serv- 
ice. The project was made possible by a grant 
provided by the National Fire Prevention and 
Control Administration. 

The objective of the research was to examine 
a representative number of fire departments in 
the United States to determine the type, scope 
and benefits of physical fitness programs. This 
study identified departments where physical fit- 
ness programs are currently in use and also lo- 
cated departments which previously had but have 
since discontinued a physical fitness program. 
The successful and unsuccessful programs were 
analyzed for the purpose of identifying the com- 
ponents and techniques which appeared to con- 
tribute to a successful physical fitness program. 
An additional task of the study assessed the de- 
gree of interest in physical fitness now held in 
the fire service. 

A. Definitions Used in the Study 

One of the requirements of the study was to 
examine a cross-section of fire departments. This 
mix was to include a range of departments by 
size, composition and location. For this purpose, 
departments were grouped in one of three cate- 
gories: 

7. Metropolitan Fire Department — a depart- 
ment serving a population of at least 200,000 
and/or staffed with a minimum of 400 career fire 
fighters. Included in this category are county 
organizations that may serve a number of indi- 
vidual communities. This definition is based on 
the requirement established by the lAFC for eli- 
gibility in its Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Committee. 

2. Volunteer Fire Department — a department 
staffed primarily with non-career, volunteer per- 
sonnel. Population served is not a factor. 

3. Paid Fire Department — a department 
staffed with a minimum of 20 career personnel 
and a service area with 20,000 or more persons. 

A number of fire departments reported using 
both career and volunteer personnel. In these 



cases, the fire department was classified as paid 
or volunteer according to what appeared to be 
the majority staffing and organizational control. 
No department classified as Metropolitan in- 
cluded a combination of personnel and there- 
fore they should be considered as staffed entirely 
with career personnel. 

B. Methodology of the Study 

A variety of techniques and procedures were 
followed in the collection of information and 
data used in this report. Initially, an in-depth re- 
view was conducted of existing literature and 
reference materials which pertain to physical fit- 
ness. This was useful in identifying the extensive 
range of activities and programs generally classi- 
fied as physical fitness. Particularly important was 
the identification of the nature of the fire fighter's 
physical fitness needs, which have been deter- 
mined in previous research studies. This initial 
phase was also designed to collect and organize 
the significant quantity of literature and reference 
materials on physical fitness and fire service 
needs. 

In an effort to quickly identify current and past 
activity, a short survey form was designed to lo- 
cate departments which could be considered for 
further study. This preliminary survey was con- 
ducted at a number of lAFC regional meetings. 
This short form asked the respondent to report 
the number and type of personnel, and whether 
they had a current physical fitness program, or 
had abandoned a program. In addition, respond- 
ents were requested to indicate if they had con- 
sidered instituting a physical fitness program. 

The preliminary survey produced 1,083 re- 
sponses, including 194 active and 121 inactive 
physical fitness programs. A detailed question- 
naire was then prepared and sent to each of these 
315 departments. The questionnaire varied de- 
pending on whether the program was current or 
inactive.^ There were 172 responses, including 
108 active and 64 inactive programs. 

Responses were reviewed to determine which 
departments should be considered for an actual 



' See Appendix B 



field visit or follow-up. Initially, It had been pro- 
posed to visit 8-10 departments. Actually, a total 
of 30 departments were visited when it was de- 
termined that a number of departments were 
located in close proximity, allowing on-site study 
without significant increase in time or travel 
costs. Departments were selected for field visit 
or other personal contact to achieve a repre- 
sentative cross section of departments by type, 
size and location. Particular attention was given 
to those departments which appeared to have 
established a successful physical fitness program. 

The objective of the field visit was to verify 
and supplement the information provided on the 
questionnaire. It was particularly desired that 
available reports, records or other historical data 
be examined for any evidence supporting the 
benefits of a physical fitness program. 

Whenever possible interviews were conducted 
separately with various supervisory ranks and per- 
sonnel. The purpose was to solicit maximum 
frankness from respondents. 

In cases where an actual field visit was not 



practical, additional follow-up on a questionnaire 
was conducted by telephone or other personal 
contact. Although this technique reduced the va- 
riety of personnel to be interviewed, it did per- 
mit further discussions with a representative of a 
department that had useful information but for 
one reason or another could not actually be 
visited. As an example, the project staff appeared 
on two major fire service conference programs, 
making it possible to obtain additional informa- 
tion from nearly twenty departments that other- 
wise would not have been personally contacted.^ 
Upon completion of the field studies all infor- 
mation, data and material were arranged into a 
rough draft report and forwarded to members of 
the lAFC Foundation Task Force for their analysis 
and input. This Task Force held an intensive 
workshop to complete the final recommenda- 
tions, editorial work and preparation of the final 
report. The Task Force further participated in re- 
view of the final report. 



' See Appendix C 



II. Physical Fitness and the Fire Fighter 



There is an increasing body of data and em- 
pirical research indicating that a career as a fire 
fighter is probably the most hazardous of all 
endeavors. Fire fighters are faced with the high 
potential for traumatic injuries and coronary ar- 
tery disease is now recognized as a serious job- 
related disease. The physical demands placed on 
the fire fighter are severe and a special problem 
is created by the suddenness with which a fire 
fighter must mentally and physically react in 
emergency situations. 

A. Physical Demands of Firefighting 

According to the Los Angeles City Fire Depart- 
ment's physical fitness manual,' the basic duties 
of a fire fighter require "physical performance 
calling for above-average ability, endurance, and 
superior condition, including occasional demand 
for extraordinary strenuous activities in emer- 
gencies, under adverse environmental conditions, 
and over extended periods of time; requires run- 
ning, walking, difficult climbing, jumping, twist- 
ing, bending, and lifting over 25 pounds; pace of 
work is typically set by the emergency situation." 

Donald Jacobs points out that the fire fighter's 
need for strength and endurance is similar to the 
needs of many professional athletes. However, 
"unlike the athlete who prepares for a particular 
season, the fire fighter must be in good physical 
condition to meet any challenge at all times." ^ 

There is no doubt that firefighting can be a 
physically demanding occupation placing maxi- 
mum stress on the body for prolonged periods. 
In a study conducted by Barnard and Duncan,^ 
heart rate responses were recorded during actual 
firefighting. Data obtained from a 27-year old 
fire fighter working in two consecutive structure 
fires revealed near-maximal to maximal heart 
rates. For over 90 minutes his heart rate was 160 
beats per minute or higher. This included a 15 



' Good Health Through Physical Fitness. (Los Angeles, CA: 
Los Angeles City Fire Department, 1971) 

' Donald T. Jacobs, Physical Fitness and the Fire Service. (Bos- 
ton: National Fire Protection Association, 1976) 

^ R. James Barnard, and Henry W. Duncan, "Heart Rate and 
EKC Responses of Fire Fighters." lournal of Occupational Medi- 
cine 17, (1975), p. 247. 



minute period where his heart rate averaged 188 
beats per minute. Although these very high heart 
rates may have been due to factors such as anx- 
iety and heat in addition to the physical work, 
the ability to maintain them for prolonged pe- 
riods requires a high level of physical condition- 
ing. Fire fighters are often required to perform 
in hot environments which put excessive stress 
on the cardiovascular system. Well conditioned 
subjects have a greater heat tolerance and a 
greater work capacity in the heat." 

Firefighting also requires strength. Much of the 
equipment (ladders, exhaust fans, hose packs, 
etc.) weighs in excess of 50 pounds. Adding this 
to the weight of protective clothing and breath- 
ing apparatus (approximately 50 pounds) means 
that the fire fighter must often carry more than 
50% of his body weight.^ This stress on the body 
requires a high degree of fitness. 

B. Fire Fighters Work Environment 

Another aspect which complicates the physical 
demands of firefighting is the work environment. 
Fire fighters are in an unusual work situation that 
requires instantly changing from a relatively sed- 
entary status to one where the body is placed 
under exceptional stress. While the stereotyped 
image of the fire fighter as someone constantly 
sitting around waiting for the next alarm is not 
accurate, neither can it be said that the routine 
non-emergency duties are particularly exerting. 

In a modern fire department, personnel do 
maintain an active schedule. This includes up- 
keep of facilities and equipment, inspection and 
training. However, this type of activity seldom, 
if ever, is of sufficient duration or intensity to 
improve an individual's physical fitness. As one 
fire fighter interviewed for this study observed, 
"There is nothing in my daily routine that really 
keeps me physically fit or prepared to suddenly 
go to maximum effort." 



" C. H. Wyndham, "The Physiology of Exercise Under Heat 
Stress." Annua/ Review ol Physiology 35, (1973), p. 193. 

^ Paul O. Davis, and D. Laine Santa Maria, "Energy Costs of 
Wearing Fire Fighting Clothing and Equipment." International 
Fire Chief 41, no. 3 (April, 1975), pp. 10-11. 



since energy (food) taken into the body is either 
used or stored in relation to energy expended. 
Excess calories not consumed become stored as 
fat. This excess weight is recognized as another 
risk factor in coronary artery disease. More di- 
rectly related to the job of a fire fighter, excess 
weight has been shown to reduce performance 
in carrying out firefighting tasks. '^ Weight control 
and exercise programs are therefore important 
to both the health and performance of the fire 
fighter. Research has shown that the most effi- 
cient way to lose excess body fat is through a 
combination of a sensible dietary restriction of 
caloric intake and regular exercise.'* 

Exercise is clearly one important requirement 
in reducing the risk factors associated with coro- 
nary artery disease. In addition, exercise has 
other physiological effects which may be im- 
portant in combating the number one killer of 
fire fighters. Blood clot formation is believed to 
play a significant role in the initial stages of 
atherosclerosis. Since exercise tends to decrease 
the tendency for clot formation, it may be an 
important factor in reducing the risk of coronary 
artery disease.'^ 

The extensive body of medical research indi- 
cates that exercise can reduce the heart disease 
problem which appears to be so prevalent in fire 
fighters. Exercise will also contribute to achieving 
a satisfactory level of job performance. 

E. What is Physical Fitness? 

The term physical fitness is very common in 
our society today. However, it is a term which is 
poorly understood by most individuals. Part of 
the misunderstanding is due to the fact that phys- 
ical fitness means different things to different 
individuals. Fitness in general implies the ability 
to function at an optimal level. Thus, physical 
fitness means one thing to the weight lifter but 
something entirely different to the marathon run- 
ner. Everyone knows that people must exercise 
to become physically fit, but few people know 
what type or how much exercise to do. This lack 
of knowledge relates in part to a lack of under- 
standing of phyiscal fitness. The weight lifter con- 
siders strength as an indicator of fitness while to 
the marathon runner, physical fitness means en- 



" Paul O. Davis, "Relationship Between Selected Physiologi- 
cal Performance Measures and Simulated Field Performance in 
Professional Fire Fighters." (Ph.D. dissertation, University of 
Maryland, 1976.) 

" L. B. Oscai, "The Role of Exercise in Weight Control," 
Exercise and Sport Sciences Review. (New York: Academic 
Press, 1973), p. 103. 

"Jean Mayer, Overweight. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice 
Hall, 1%8.) 



durance to run the 26.2 mile race as fast as pos- 
sible. 

Actually, physical fitness consists of many com- 
ponents including strength, endurance, power, 
agility, and flexibility. 

7. Strength is defined as the force that a mus- 
cle or group of muscles can generate against a 
resistance. Or in more simple terms, strength can 
be defined by how much weight an individual 
can lift, push, or pull. 

2. Power refers to the rate at which work can 
be done or the rate at which force can be devel- 
oped. Power is important for activities such as 
jumping and sprinting. 

3. Endurance is defined as the ability to per- 
form work for prolonged periods. Endurance is 
usually divided into two components, muscular 
and cardiovascular. Muscular endurance refers 
to the ability of a muscle to contract against a 
moderate resistance for long periods of time. 
Cardiovascular endurance refers to functions of 
the heart and blood vessels and is concerned 
with the ability of the heart and blood to de- 
liver oxygen to the muscles for continuous func- 
tion. Actually, muscular and cardiovascular en- 
durance are very closely related since there is no 
way to exercise the heart without exercising skel- 
etal muscles. 

4. Agility is defined as the ability to move 
quickly and easily in a coordinated manner. 

5. Flexibility is the ability to bend or is the 
range of motion of a joint. Good flexibility is 
thought to be important in preventing muscle 
and tendon injuries. 

While the weight lifter is concerned primarily 
with strength and the marathon runner primarily 
with endurance, the fire fighter needs to be con- 
cerned with all of the components of physical 
fitness and must be involved in a well-rounded 
exercise program. 

All of the components of physical fitness, with 
the possible exception of agility, can be signifi- 
cantly increased through a regular exercise pro- 
gram that can be conducted within the confines 
of the fire station. Flexibility can be improved 
through stretching and bending exercises which 
should be included in the warm-up phase of an 
exercise program. Strength can be increased by 
putting a load or resistance on a muscle as with 
calisthenics or weight lifting. 

Strength can also be increased through iso- 
metric exercises. Isometric contraction involves 
the generation of maximum force against an im- 
movable object. An example of an isometric ex- 
ercise is placing the right hand on top of the left 
and then pushing maximally one hand against the 
other. The arms do not move and the muscles do 



not shorten but maximum force is generated. In- 
creasing strength will also help to increase 
power. 

Regular physical fitness training has been 
shown to increase maximal work capacity and 
endurance time. Astrand and Rodahl report that 
a non-trained individual working at 50% of his 
maximum aerobic capacity (utilization of oxy- 
gen) can last approximately one hour before be- 
coming fatigued while a well-trained individual 
working at 50% of his maximum aerobic capacity 
can work for eight hours. ^* Activities such as 
bench stepping, rope skipping, jogging, cycling, 
etc. increase maximum aerobic capacity and en- 
durance time. Most physiologists feel that exer- 
cise programs should be conducted for 30-45 
minutes at least three times per week.'^ Stressing 
the cardiovascular system is the only way to pro- 
duce change. This requires that the exercises 
must elevate the heart rate to 70-85% of maxi- 
mum. Since maximum heart rate decreases with 
age, exercise heart rate will be lower for older 
individuals. For example, a 20-year old fire fighter 
should maintain a heart rate above 140 beats per 
minute for 30-45 minutes, while a 50-year old fire 
fighter only has to keep the heart rate above 120 
beats per minute. 

Any exercise program should start at a low 
level and then slowly progress using the overload 
principle. According to the overload principle, 
when a stress is placed on the body through ex- 
ercise the body will adapt or adjust to the new, 
higher level of activity. Once adaptation has oc- 
curred a new level of stress (overload) has to be 
applied to achieve any further increase in per- 
formance. If the beginning level is too low, adap- 
tation will not occur because it does not stress 
the body. However, it is much better to start out 
low than too high, if the initial stress is too se- 
vere it may lead to a state of exhaustion and/or 



" Per-Olf Astrand and Kaare Rodall, Textbook of Work Physi- 
ology. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1970), p. 292 

" Fred W. Kasch and John L. Boyer, Adult Fitness, Principles 
and Practice. (Palo Alto, Ca.: National Press Books, 1968). 



injury. The initial level which one should choose 
will depend upon many factors, including age, 
state of training and medical status. 

Summary 

Fitness in general implies the ability to func- 
tion at an optimal level. Physical fitness is one 
component of total fitness, which includes men- 
tal alertness, freedom from disease and proper 
body weight. The various components of physi- 
cal fitness include: strength, power, endurance, 
agility, and flexibility. With the possible excep- 
tion of agility, the other components may be im- 
proved through a well-rounded physical fitness 
program. In order to achieve significant improve- 
ment in any of the components of physical fit- 
ness, one must stress the body or utilize the 
overload principle. Optimal physical fitness can 
only be achieved through hard work. Exercise 
programs should be performed at least three 
times a week for 30-45 minutes per session. 

Firefighting can be a strenuous occupation 
which may tax the individual fire fighter at maxi- 
mal limits for prolonged periods, thus requiring 
above-average endurance. Firefighting also re- 
quires above-average strength. Regular exercise 
may be an effective adjunct in controlling the 
heart disease problem in fire fighters. Elevated 
levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides as 
well as hypertension may be reduced through 
regular exercise. In addition to reducing these 
major risk factors for coronary heart disease, ex- 
ercise may reduce the tendency for blood clot 
formation and the amount of adrenalin released 
in response to stress, which are two other factors 
implicated in coronary heart disease. Exercise is 
also an important aspect of weight control. Pos- 
sessing above average endurance means that fire 
fighters will be less susceptible to fatigue, less 
likely to make mental errors and less likely to be 
injured. The inclusion of a mandatory physical 
fitness program in the daily activities of fire 
fighters is therefore justified. 



since energy (food) taken into the body is either 
used or stored in relation to energy expended. 
Excess calories not consumed become stored as 
fat. This excess weight is recognized as another 
risk factor in coronary artery disease. More di- 
rectly related to the job of a fire fighter, excess 
weight has been shown to reduce performance 
in carrying out firefighting tasks. ^^ Weight control 
and exercise programs are therefore important 
to both the health and performance of the fire 
fighter. Research has shown that the most effi- 
cient way to lose excess body fat is through a 
combination of a sensible dietary restriction of 
caloric intake and regular exercise.'® 

Exercise is clearly one important requirement 
in reducing the risk factors associated with coro- 
nary artery disease. In addition, exercise has 
other physiological effects which may be im- 
portant in combating the number one killer of 
fire fighters. Blood clot formation is believed to 
play a significant role in the initial stages of 
atherosclerosis. Since exercise tends to decrease 
the tendency for clot formation, it may be an 
important factor in reducing the risk of coronary 
artery disease." 

The extensive body of medical research indi- 
cates that exercise can reduce the heart disease 
problem which appears to be so prevalent in fire 
fighters. Exercise will also contribute to achieving 
a satisfactory level of job performance. 

E. What is Physical Fitness? 

The term physical fitness is very common in 
our society today. However, it is a term which is 
poorly understood by most individuals. Part of 
the misunderstanding is due to the fact that phys- 
ical fitness means different things to different 
individuals. Fitness in general implies the ability 
to function at an optimal level. Thus, physical 
fitness means one thing to the weight lifter but 
something entirely different to the marathon run- 
ner. Everyone knows that people must exercise 
to become physically fit, but few people know 
what type or how much exercise to do. This lack 
of knowledge relates in part to a lack of under- 
standing of phyiscal fitness. The weight lifter con- 
siders strength as an indicator of fitness while to 
the marathon runner, physical fitness means en- 



'^ Paul O. Davis, "Relationship Between Selected Physiologi- 
cal Performance Measures and Simulated Field Performance in 
Professional Fire Fighters." (Ph.D. dissertation, University of 
Maryland, 1976.) 

" L. B. Oscai, "The Role of Exercise in Weight Control," 
Exercise and Sport Sciences Review. (New York: Academic 
Press, 1973), p. 103. 

"Jean Mayer, Overweight (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice 
Hall, 1968.) 



durance to run the 26.2 mile race as fast as pos- 
sible. 

Actually, physical fitness consists of many com- 
ponents including strength, endurance, power, 
agility, and flexibility. 

7, Strength is defined as the force that a mus- 
cle or group of muscles can generate against a 
resistance. Or in more simple terms, strength can 
be defined by how much weight an individual 
can lift, push, or pull. 

2. Power refers to the rate at which work can 
be done or the rate at which force can be devel- 
oped. Power is important for activities such as 
jumping and sprinting. 

3. Endurance is defined as the ability to per- 
form work for prolonged periods. Endurance is 
usually divided into two components, muscular 
and cardiovascular. Muscular endurance refers 
to the ability of a muscle to contract against a 
moderate resistance for long periods of time. 
Cardiovascular endurance refers to functions of 
the heart and blood vessels and is concerned 
with the ability of the heart and blood to de- 
liver oxygen to the muscles for continuous func- 
tion. Actually, muscular and cardiovascular en- 
durance are very closely related since there is no 
way to exercise the heart without exercising skel- 
etal muscles. 

4. Agility is defined as the ability to move 
quickly and easily in a coordinated manner. 

5. Flexibility is the ability to bend or is the 
range of motion of a joint. Good flexibility is 
thought to be important in preventing muscle 
and tendon injuries. 

While the weight lifter is concerned primarily 
with strength and the marathon runner primarily 
with endurance, the fire fighter needs to be con- 
cerned with all of the components of physical 
fitness and must be involved in a well-rounded 
exercise program. 

All of the components of physical fitness, with 
the possible exception of agility, can be signifi- 
cantly increased through a regular exercise pro- 
gram that can be conducted within the confines 
of the fire station. Flexibility can be improved 
through stretching and bending exercises which 
should be included in the warm-up phase of an 
exercise program. Strength can be increased by 
putting a load or resistance on a muscle as with 
calisthenics or weight lifting. 

Strength can also be increased through iso- 
metric exercises. Isometric contraction involves 
the generation of maximum force against an im- 
movable object. An example of an isometric ex- 
ercise is placing the right hand on top of the left 
and then pushing maximally one hand against the 
other. The arms do not move and the muscles do 



6 



not shorten but maximum force is generated. In- 
creasing strength will also help to increase 
power. 

Regular physical fitness training has been 
shown to increase maximal work capacity and 
endurance time. Astrand and Rodahl report that 
a non-trained individual working at 50% of his 
maximum aerobic capacity (utilization of oxy- 
gen) can last approximately one hour before be- 
coming fatigued while a well-trained individual 
working at 50% of his maximum aerobic capacity 
can work for eight hours.'* Activities such as 
bench stepping, rope skipping, jogging, cycling, 
etc. increase maximum aerobic capacity and en- 
durance time. Most physiologists feel that exer- 
cise programs should be conducted for 30-45 
minutes at least three times per week.'^ Stressing 
the cardiovascular system is the only way to pro- 
duce change. This requires that the exercises 
must elevate the heart rate to 70-85% of maxi- 
mum. Since maximum heart rate decreases with 
age, exercise heart rate will be lower for older 
individuals. For example, a 20-year old fire fighter 
should maintain a heart rate above 140 beats per 
minute for 30-45 minutes, while a 50-year old fire 
fighter only has to keep the heart rate above 120 
beats per minute. 

Any exercise program should start at a low 
level and then slowly progress using the overload 
principle. According to the overload principle, 
when a stress is placed on the body through ex- 
ercise the body will adapt or adjust to the new, 
higher level of activity. Once adaptation has oc- 
curred a new level of stress (overload) has to be 
applied to achieve any further increase in per- 
formance. If the beginning level is too low, adap- 
tation will not occur because it does not stress 
the body. However, it is much better to start out 
low than too high. If the initial stress is too se- 
vere it may lead to a state of exhaustion and/or 



" Per-Olf Astrand and Kaare Rodall, Textbook of Work Physi- 
ology. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1970), p. 292 

" Fred W. Kasch and John L. Boyer, Adult Fitness, Principles 
and Practice. (Palo Alto, Ca.: National Press Books, 1968). 



injury. The initial level which one should choose 
will depend upon many factors, including age, 
state of training and medical status. 

Summary 

Fitness in general implies the ability to func- 
tion at an optimal level. Physical fitness is one 
component of total fitness, which includes men- 
tal alertness, freedom from disease and proper 
body weight. The various components of physi- 
cal fitness include: strength, power, endurance, 
agility, and flexibility. With the possible excep- 
tion of agility, the other components may be im- 
proved through a well-rounded physical fitness 
program. In order to achieve significant improve- 
ment in any of the components of physical fit- 
ness, one must stress the body or utilize the 
overload principle. Optimal physical fitness can 
only be achieved through hard work. Exercise 
programs should be performed at least three 
times a week for 30-45 minutes per session. 

Firefighting can be a strenuous occupation 
which may tax the individual fire fighter at maxi- 
mal limits for prolonged periods, thus requiring 
above-average endurance. Firefighting also re- 
quires above-average strength. Regular exercise 
may be an effective adjunct in controlling the 
heart disease problem in fire fighters. Elevated 
levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides as 
well as hypertension may be reduced through 
regular exercise. In addition to reducing these 
major risk factors for coronary heart disease, ex- 
ercise may reduce the tendency for blood clot 
formation and the amount of adrenalin released 
in response to stress, which are two other factors 
implicated in coronary heart disease. Exercise is 
also an important aspect of weight control. Pos- 
sessing above average endurance means that fire 
fighters will be less susceptible to fatigue, less 
likely to make mental errors and less likely to be 
injured. The inclusion of a mandatory physical 
fitness program in the daily activities of fire 
fighters is therefore justified. 



III. Fire Service Physical Fitness Programs 



The principle objective of this study was to 
assess the scope and type of physical fitness ac- 
tivity in the fire service. By examining current and 
past activity in a variety of fire departments it 
would be possible to obtain an insight into the 
various types of physical fitness programs, how 
these programs are organized and the reasons for 
their success or failure. 

A. Preliminary Survey Results 

As indicated earlier a simple short form was 
used to quickly survey a number of departments 
to locate active and inactive physical fitness pro- 
grams. This preliminary survey produced 1,083 
responses. Included were responses from 194 fire 
departments indicating they had an active physi- 
cal fitness program. There were 121 fire depart- 
ments that reported previously having a physical 
fitness program that was considered inactive. A 
total of 768 departments reported that they did 
not have, nor previously had a physical fitness 
program. These results are summarized in the 
table below. 

The total sample of 1,083 fire departments re- 
vealed that approximately 18% currently had 
some type of physical fitness program and 11% 
had discontinued a program. The vast majority 
of the sample, 71%, did not have a program. 
However, another objective of the preliminary 
survey was to assess the degree of interest in 
starting a program. Better than 70% of those de- 
partments reporting no current physical fitness 
program indicated they were considering such a 
program. 

In addition to obtaining a representative sam- 
ple by type of department, it was also desired to 
obtain responses with the broadest possible geo- 



graphic distribution and responses were received 
from every state. 

The preliminary survey produced responses 
from 315 departments indicating they had or 
previously had an active physical fitness pro- 
gram. Detailed questionnaires were sent to each 
of these 315 departments. Completed question- 
naires were received from 108 (56%) of the 194 
reported active programs. Returns on inactive 
programs were 64 (53%) of the 121 reported in 
the preliminary survey. These 172 responses 
served as the basis for analysis of the types of 
physical fitness programs in the fire service. 

B. Types of Physical Fitness Programs 

The detailed questionnaires revealed that there 
is a considerable variety of fire service physical 
fitness programs and activities. Of the 172 re- 
turned questionnaires, 167 departments re- 
sponded to the question asking for information 
on the type of physical fitness program and ac- 
tivities (Appendix B, question 2). The purpose 
was to identify those programs most frequently 
used and to determine which activities appeared 
to have the greatest acceptance. 

The 167 responses were almost equally divided 
with 84 departments reporting that their physical 
fitness program was a composite of various ac- 
tivities which they had selected as appropriate. 
The other 83 departments reported using some 
type of organized or "packaged" program, gen- 
erally available commercially. 

As indicated above, program content varied 
considerably. The most frequently reported ac- 
tivities currently in use included calisthenics (82), 
jogging (70), group sports (47), weight lifting (41), 
walking (14), and isometrics (6). A number of re- 



Programs reported by type of department 



Active 



Inactive 



None 



Total 



Metropolitan Department 
Volunteer Department 
Paid Department 
Total 



22 


16 


37 


75 


5 


13 


295 


313 


167 


92 


436 


695 


194 


121 


768 


1083 



sponses indicated these same activities also lead 
the list of activities that departments had dis- 
continued. As an example, 45% of reporting de- 
partments have dropped calisthenics because 
personnel considered it boring and participated 
in a half-hearted manner at best. Walking was 
also considered as boring and 43% of the depart- 
ments had discontinued this activity. Although 
group sports were accepted by several depart- 
ments they were dropped by 34% of the re- 
spondents due to the frequency of injuries. Jog- 
ging and weight lifting were also high on the list 
of activities eliminated due to injuries or bore- 
dom. 

Approximately one-half of the 167 departments 
reported having adopted a commercially avail- 
able "packaged" program. Two departments also 
reported having developed their own compre- 
hensive program which was being adopted by 
other departments throughout the country. Be- 
cause of the large number of departments in- 
volved and the increasing interest in a more sys- 
tematic approach to physical fitness, a brief 
description of the most frequently cited programs 
is appropriate.' 

7. Aerobics is a system of exercise designed 
to improve cardiovascular fitness (condition of 
the heart, lungs and the entire circulatorv sys- 
tem). Aerobic exercises improve the body's ca- 
pacity to utilize oxygen and deliver it to the tissue 
cells, where it produces energy needed for mus- 
cular work. Aerobic exercises demand oxygen, 
but without producing an intolerable oxygen 
debt, so the exercises can be continued for ex- 
tended periods of time. The system was devel- 
oped by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, a former United 
States Air Force physician. 

Aerobic capacity may be defined as maximum 
ability to take in, transport, and use oxygen. The 
relationship between aerobic capacity and work 
capacity is direct. The body requires energy to 
perform work, energy created by burning fats 
and carbohydrates. This process consumes oxy- 
gen, and the tougher the job, the more energy 
expended, and thus more oxygen is required. 
Oxygen consumption is usually expressed in units 
of liters per minute and is often normalized for 
the body in units of milliliters per kilogram per 
minutes. 

Cooper's program has been developed primar- 
ily to increase a person's aerobic capacity. A sam- 
ple of aerobic type activities would include: run- 
ning, jogging, bicycling, swimming, and even 
walking. Aerobic activity alternatives include: 



' Appendix D provides more detailed information on pub- 
lishers. 



skipping rope, running in place, stationary bicy- 
cling, treadmill running, bench stepping and stair 
climbing. A point system is established based on 
the oxygen demands required to sustain the ac- 
tivity. Persons are monitored for oxygen con- 
sumption while running a mile, and the data is 
recorded. The more oxygen required to perform 
a specific exercise, in a given time limit, the more 
points assigned to that exercise. 

In order to determine a "fitness category," a 
pretest is administered to determine the distance 
an individual can run or walk in a twelve minute 
period. Once a category is identified, a condi- 
tioning program is recommended to increase 
aerobic capacity. This program is based on vari- 
ous physical activities to which points are as- 
signed depending upon the amount of oxygen 
that is consumed while performing the exercise. 
For example, cycling 5 miles in 20 minutes has a 
value of 5 points. The objective is to achieve 30 
points a week, which is supposed to provide an 
adequate level of cardiovascular fitness. 

2. Canadian 5BX is an organized program of 
exercises developed by the Royal Canadian Air 
Force. The 5BX Plan is composed of 6 charts, 
arranged in progression. Each chart demonstrates 
5 separate exercises which are always performed 
in the same order and in the same maximum time 
limit. As the individual advances from chart to 
chart there are slight changes in each basic exer- 
cise with a gradual demand for more effort. 

The program requires that exercises be com- 
pleted in a prescribed time period and done with 
a certain intensity to increase the heart rate. Ex- 
ercises vary from touching the floor with the 
hands to stationary running. Flexibility plays a 
major role in most of the exercises, with endur- 
ance and strength-type conditioning being em- 
phasized less. A reported advantage of the pro- 
gram is the minimum amount of time involved 
and the fact that there are no equipment require- 
ments. It is recommended, however, that the 
program should be performed daily at approxi- 
mately the same time. 

The Royal Canadian Air Force has also outlined 
a physical fitness program for women (XBX). The 
exercises are different than those involved in 
5BX, but with the same goals of overall physical 
fitness achieved as an end result of the program. 

3. Physical Fitness for Fire Fighters, one of the 
more recently organized programs was devel- 
oped by the Travelers Insurance Company in 
cooperation with the President's Council on 
Physical Fitness and Sports. This program appears 
to have gained quick interest, which can prob- 
ably be attributed to the fact that it was designed 



10 



specifically for the fire service. In addition, the 
program received wide publicity particularly 
through efforts made by the International Asso- 
ciation of Fire Chiefs. 

The program stresses two points. First is the 
importance of a physical check-up before under- 
taking any exercise program. Second, the pro- 
gram should be based on individual needs. A 
pretest is administered which is intended to 
determine the fire fighters current levels of fitness 
and establish their beginning levels of exercise. 

The program consists of three phases: warm- 
up, conditioning exercises, and circulatory im- 
proving activities. The work-out should always 
be preceded by an adequate warm-up. The warm- 
up is intended to gradually increase the heart rate 
which is essential to efficient and safe functioning 
of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems dur- 
ing vigorous exercise. This also makes the joints 
more flexible and the muscles and their append- 
ages more elastic. The warm-up consists mainly 
of flexibility exercises. The exercises range from 
chest and shoulder stretches, to trunk rotation. 

The conditioning exercises are intended to im- 
prove muscle tone, produce a moderate increase 
in strength, promote good posture and, contrib- 
ute to flexibility, coordination, and balance. Push- 
ups, leg raises, and sit-ups are a few of the 
conditioning exercises performed. Each exercise 
is begun with a minimum number of repetitions. 
This number is gradually increased and when the 
maximum recommended number of repetitions 
can be performed with ease, the individual pro- 
ceeds to an increased level of difficulty. 

The circulatory activities are designed to im- 
prove the efficiency and the capacity of the car- 
diovascular and respiratory systems. The circula- 
tory exercises include such activities as walking 
and jogging, which require increased oxygen 
consumption. The progressive nature of the work- 
outs increases aerobic capacity by demanding 
more physical exertion and endurance. 

The exercises outlined in this program should 
be performed daily for at least 30 minutes. The 
individual should choose a convenient time to 
work-out and stick with it. To achieve and main- 
tain a satisfactory level of fitness, the individual 
must exercise long and vigorously enough to in- 
crease heart rate. 

4. Los Angeles City Fire Department. Although 
this program was designed to meet the needs of 
Los Angeles City, it has been adopted by several 
other departments and appears to be receiving 
increasing interest, particularly on the West Coast. 

The program, initiated in 1971, is based on the 
thesis that since initial employment requires in- 
dividuals to be in good physical condition, they 



should maintain their condition throughout their 
career. The stated objectives of the fitness pro- 
gram are: 

"Provide members with a comprehensive, peri- 
odic medical examination, including follow-up 
of indicated abnormalities. 

To tailor a program of progressive conditioning 
for all members. 

To establish physical fitness standards for fire- 
men. 

For all members to feel better, look better, 
function better, and have a happier, more pro- 
ductive life during city service and after retire- 
ment." ^ 

The program was designed and is monitored 
by authorities experienced in both medical and 
exercise physiology. A key feature of this pro- 
gram is the emphasis on overall fitness and the 
system of continued medical monitoring of each 
department member. 

All uniformed personnel are periodically given 
medically supervised performance evaluations, 
which measure the functional work capacity of 
the individual and help diagnose unsuspected 
coronary heart disease. The Department reserves 
the right to refer personnel for a medical or 
physical examination any time the employee 
shows evidence of failing health. 

The Department maintains records on each 
member's medical history as well as progress and 
status in the program. This information is used to 
monitor each individual's health and circumvent 
problems by referring the member to the medical 
section when health hazards are noted. All per- 
sonnel 15 pounds or more above their maximum 
weight are referred to the Weight Control Clinic 
and members showing cardiac abnormalities are 
referred to the Cardiac Clinic. Members with 
elevated blood pressures are referred to their 
private physicians. 

The Los Angeles program is structured into 
three levels: Level I, Level II, and Level III. The 
lowest level (Level I) is of a lesser intensity and 
for the beginner, older, or out of shape member. 
Level II, or the intermediate level of intensity, is 
for the younger members of the department and 
those in better physical condition initially. Level 
III, the advanced level, is designed to maintain 
the physical condition of the new recruit and 
those members in excellent physical condition. 
A member may move through the different levels 



^ Cood Health Through Physical Fitness, (Los Angeles: Los 
Angeles City Fire Department 1971) p. vii. 



11 



at his own rate, and is reminded that he is com- 
peting with himself rather than with other mem- 
bers. The exercise sessions are held each morning 
at individual stations. Participation is required for 
all uniformed personnel. The Department be- 
lieves that for a member to obtain maximum 
benefit from the program, the sessions must be 
held 3 times per week and be of a 30 minute 
duration, minimally, and optimally be held 4 or 5 
times per week. 

The activities of the program fall into three 
categories: flexibility and warm-up exercises, car- 
diovascular exercises, and conditioning exercises. 
The flexibility and warm-up exercises are de- 
signed to stretch the ligaments and tendons and 
ready the joints for further action. Arm circling, 
side bending and half knee bends are a few of 
the exercises included in this category. The car- 
diovascular activities include running, rope-skip- 
ping and walking. Push-ups, sit-ups and prone 
leg raises are the types of exercises used to de- 
velop important rhythmic movements essential 
to conditioning exercises. The Department also 
uses athletic activities such as handball, racquet- 
bail, swimming, and bicycling as part of their 
program in an effort to relieve boredom. How- 
ever, the Department emphasizes that athletic 
activities and group sports should be considered 
as adjuncts to the exercise program since they 
are not of sufficient duration and intensity. As 
their manual states, "You train to play the sport, 
not play the sport to train." ^ 

The Los Angeles program did involve some 
initial costs. These expenditures included con- 
sulting services of an exercise physiologist who 
assisted in developing the program and with the 
training and indoctrination of members. Some 
expenditures were also required for equipment. 
These costs were primarily for items required to 
conduct the Kasch Pulse Recovery Test.* 

5. Charlotte, North Carolina Fire Department 
has initiated a program equally as comprehensive 
as that in Los Angeles. Considerable emphasis was 
placed on utilizing expertise from the Health and 
Physical Education Department of the University 
of North Carolina. In addition training and indoc- 
trination of officers and members was considered 
essential. All officers completed a training class to 
acquaint them with the purpose of the program 
and how they should train personnel. 

The program emphasizes activities designed to 
improve cardiorespiratory performance as well as 
muscular strength, flexibility and endurance. In- 



' Ibid. 

'Since the Kasch test is used in several programs for both 
initial evaluation as ¥1(611 as periodic testing, the Los Angeles 
procedure is shown in Appendix E. 



dividual performance is tested at the beginning 
of the program and then periodically evaluated 
to determine rate of progress. 

Flexibility and conditioning exercises include 
a variety of typical isometric and isotonic meth- 
ods. The cardiorespiratory exercises include 
jumping jacks, bench stepping, rope skipping, 
running and walking. The specific exercise will 
depend upon the individual's fitness level, pri- 
marily based on the score on the Kasch Test, 
similarly used by Los Angeles City. 

The Department's training manual has many 
helpful suggestions concerning proper clothing 
and shoes, best times to train, and many of the 
do's and don'ts necessary to fully utilize the pro- 
gram. Special emphasis is placed on the need for 
proper sleep and nutrition in addition to the 
exercise. 

6. The Apollo Fitness Program. The Apollo 
Program is based on the principle of isokinetics 
and utilizes a mechanical exercise device reported 
to develop the cardiovascular system, endurance, 
flexibility, muscle balance and muscular strength. 
This program was reported to be in use in at least 
seven departments with several other departments 
considering adoption. 

The Apollo program is designed around an ex- 
ercise device costing approximately $50.00 per 
unit. Interest in this program appears to result 
from manufacturers' claims that only twelve min- 
utes per day are required to perform the exer- 
cises. 

Another possible reason for interest in this 
program is a study conducted in a small paid fire 
department — Altamonte Springs, Florida. Each 
member of the department participated in a 
three month study which included a pre- and 
post-test on six items measuring cardiovascular 
performance, strength and flexibility. Each mem- 
ber was graded in accordance with the standards 
set by the National Aerobics Foundation, the 
YMCA, and the Physical Fitness Institute of Amer- 
ica. Each exercise item was scored separately and 
then averaged to determine an overall score of 
all categories from which a fitness profile was 
established for every member. At the same time 
as the pretest, each member was given the 
Apollo Exerciser and instructed as to its proper 
use. A Department order required that all indi- 
viduals exercise ten minutues per day using the 
Apollo Exerciser. 

The fire department claims physical fitness 
gains in three important areas: cardiovascular 
strength, muscular strength, and flexibility. Aver- 
age blood pressures and heart rates decreased, 
and in each exercise category members showed 



12 



significant improvement with less fatigue. The 
pretesting had indicated that only 20% of the 
department was able to achieve a grade in the 
"good" or "better" category, while the ninety 
day post-testing revealed that 66% of the depart- 
ment was able to obtain a score in the "good" or 
"better" category. 

The Altamonte Springs Fire Department has 
opted to continue with the program and has 
adopted a requirement that all members be able 
to attain a minimum overall fitness score of 80% 
(good) or better, within nine months. 

7. Physical Fitness and tiie Fire Service (NFPA) 
is another recently developed program designed 
specifically for fire fighters. As with other pro- 
grams, participants are encouraged to have a 
physical examination including a pretest to de- 
termine their current physical conditions. 

The program, designed by a fire fighter, con- 
sists of two program systems. The majority of the 
exercises in each program involve the full range 
of motion of each muscle group being worked. 
This develops the strength and flexibility of all 
sections of the muscles needed for firefighting. 
Ail the exercises were designed to accomplish 
the best results in the shortest period of time, 
with an emphasis on the cardiovascular system. 

System One requires no special equipment, 
and may be done at home or in the fire station. 
This floor exercise program consists of nine spe- 
cific exercises ranging from floor stretches to 
stationary running. System Two is designed to 
develop muscular strength and endurance more 
rapidly through the use of an exercise device. 

The purpose of the device is to let the body 
devote its effort toward the development of a 
particular muscle group. This is different from 
most other forms of exercise — including System 
One — because of an overlapping use of the 
majority of the muscle groups. For example, in 
order to do a push-up or curl a barbell, most of 
the muscle groups are required for the position 
and support of the body against gravity and 
against counter-movement of the exercise. How- 
ever, the objective of the exercise device is to 
allow for development of specific muscle groups 
rather than all muscles. Although the device is 
simple it does involve some costs (approximately 
$400), and can only be used by one person at 
a time. 

After deciding on a specific program, a definite 
time during the work day should be set aside for 
each session. In order to be effective, the exercises 
should be performed for at least twenty days 
equally spaced throughout the month. A certain 
intensity must be maintained while performing 
these exercises. The pulse rate should range be- 



tween 120-150 beats per minute during most of 
the workout to be effective. 

As with Los Angeles City, this program also 
emphasizes that physical fitness is considerably 
more than a simple program of exercise. Other 
important factors must include consideration of 
smoking, proper diet, etc. 

C. Program Organization, 
Implementation and Costs 

The survey and field visits conducted during 
this study revealed that there is little uniformity 
in how fire departments organize and implement 
their physical fitness programs. 

1. Organization — The vast majority of pro- 
grams reviewed in this study were initiated as a 
result of someone in the department who be- 
lieved a need existed to improve the performance 
of personnel. In larger departments it would ap- 
pear that the training officer is the individual who 
most frequently encourages management to adopt 
a physical fitness program. In smaller departments 
individual members who are highly motivated 
toward personal physical fitness have had con- 
siderable influence in starting programs. 

Although most departments reported having a 
physician medical advisor, it was seldom that 
this medical person initiated the first concern or 
effort to implement a physical fitness program. 
Once management perceives the need and de- 
cides to implement a program, they do tend to 
rely heavily on advice from their medical advisor. 
Unfortunately, a significant number of these 
physicians are not well qualified to design a 
physical fitness program for fire fighters. This 
probably accounts for those programs which ob- 
viously are a mix of activities which look like a 
good idea but have a high rate of failure. 

On the other hand, programs that appear to be 
the most comprehensive, systematic and best 
utilized are those where competent medical ad- 
visors and exercise physiologists had major input 
into designing the program. This input is im- 
portant not only in designing an effective pro- 
gram but also lends a degree of credibility which 
is required in order to obtain acceptance from 
personnel. 

A considerable number of physical fitness pro- 
grams appear to be the result of recent publicity. 
Both the general media and fire service publica- 
tions have increased the numbers of articles, re- 
ports and other commentary encouraging physical 
fitness. A number of fire officials indicated that 
their initial interest did result from this type of 
contact or exposure. This relatively recent inter- 
est is further evidenced in the survey results 



13 



which indicated that 91% of all programs were 
instituted after 1970.^ 

As indicated above, physical fitness programs 
tend to be organized around one of the better 
known or "packaged" programs. Those programs 
which emphasize or at least include activity de- 
signed to upgrade the cardiovascular system 
appear to be widely used. 

In other cases exercises appear to have been 
selected to achieve results similar to a packaged 
program. The most popular form of exercises 
include jogging, calisthenics, group sports and 
weight lifting. Although 50% of the survey re- 
ported using a packaged program, investigation 
revealed that most programs actually used a mix 
of activities designed locally. Even where a de- 
partment had adopted a packaged program it 
was modified for one reason or another. 

With few exceptions, programs are organized 
to include all members of the department except 
for "civilian" personnel. In practice, however, it 
appears that in most departments only personnel 
in the station actually participate. 

2. Implementation — Of the physical fitness 
programs currently considered active, better than 
70% were reported to be compulsory, as distinct 
from voluntary participation. This may be a 
factor to consider in establishing programs since 
the survey revealed that the failure rate for pro- 
grams where participation was voluntary ex- 
ceeded 50%. In departments where participation 
was compulsory, the failure rate was only 30%. 

The implementation schedule of programs 
varies considerably. Better than one-half devote 
less than 30 minutes per day. More importantly, 
only 23% schedule physical fitness activity on a 
daily basis. Nearly 40% of the departments with 
a currently active program reported that only 
three or less days per week included a scheduled 
period for their physical fitness program. A num- 
ber of personnel contacted during the field study 
advised that, with rotating shifts, several days 
might pass before they actually were on duty to 
participate. The majority admitted that they did 
not make an effort to keep up their schedule 
while off duty. 

In an effort to encourage voluntary participa- 
tion and maintenance of a continuous schedule, 
some departments have adopted an incentive 
program. Personnel are periodically evaluated 
against a level of performance and are awarded 
extra benefits. Several personnel advised that the 
incentive program was a major factor in their 



" It may be of some interest that 1970 is the year that the 
lAFC first established a standing committee to promote in- 
creased physical fitness for fire fighters. 



willingness to maintain a schedule and to reach 
a higher level of fitness than might be required or 
accepted as minimum passable performance. 

Although a major justification for implement- 
ing a physical fitness program was reported to 
be the desire to improve fitness of personnel and 
reduce injuries, 35% of the departments reported 
they did not attempt to measure the benefits 
of their program. Of those departments which do 
make an effort to assess benefits, it generally is 
accomplished by simply maintaining a record of 
an individual's heart rate, blood pressure and 
weight. 

The majority of departments did report main- 
taining records on injuries, sick leave, disability, 
lost time, etc. However, this data appeared to be 
kept for purposes of compensation-related issues 
with little if any effort made to correlate data 
with the physical fitness program either in terms 
of individual benefits or organizational benefits. 
Several departments were found to understand 
the importance of this data and are currently in 
the process of reviewing their reporting systems. 
However, data are not yet available in any mean- 
ingful or useful quantity. 

The success and longevity of fire department 
physical fitness programs has not been very good 
in the past. The failure rate is almost 40% and 
the majority of programs last less than five years. 
If that trend continues, a significant number of 
currently active programs can be expected to 
fail since the vast majority have not yet reached 
the five year point. 

The overwhelming reason reported for failure 
of physical fitness programs was resistance of 
personnel. Even where a program is classified as 
compulsory, it tends to loose its effectiveness if 
personnel are not supportive. In one department, 
with a reported compulsory program, it was 
actually found that the only aspect of the program 
that was compulsory was getting "suited up." 
However, if an individual didn't want to partici- 
pate, officers seldom forced the issue. Personnel 
rated boredom with routine floor exercises and 
traditional calisthenics as the main reason for 
their lack of support and interest. 

A second reason for discontinuing programs 
appeared to be injuries reported to be related to 
physical fitness programs. Whether these reported 
injuries are valid or simply an excuse is question- 
able. Undoubtedly some valid injuries have oc- 
curred during physical fitness activity. Most fre- 
quently these injuries occur during group sports 
and during the start-up phase of a new program 
when personnel are not properly trained or con- 
ditioned prior to undertaking strenuous exercise. 
On the other hand, a number of injuries were 



14 



blamed on physical fitness activities for the pur- 
pose of justifying discontinuance of a program 
and to allow claims for an on-duty injury. 

3. Program Costs — There are two costs in the 
organization and implementation of a physical 
fitness program. These include initial start-up 
expenses and costs required to maintain the pro- 
gram. These costs can be further divided into 
direct and indirect expenditures. 

The survey revealed that start-up expenses 
varied considerably. In some departments initiat- 
ing a physical fitness program required little more 
than the purchase of a training manual for dis- 
tribution to each member. In other cases pretest- 
ing and basic equipment needs did involve at 
least a modest direct outlay. 

The Los Angeles program, initiated in 1971, 
provided $2,000 for medical and exercise physiol- 
ogist consultant fees. These advisors assisted in 
development of the program and more import- 
antly, conducted training sessions for supervisory 
personnel who were to be responsible for pro- 
gram implementation. Los Angeles budgeted 
another $2,000 for basic equipment (e.g. timer, 
metronome, step bench, ropes, etc.). Since 1971 
the department added weight scales and at least 
one exercise cycle to each station. It is estimated 
that total equipment costs now range between 
$250 and $300 per station. 

More current cost estimates are available from 
Alexandria, Virginia, which initiated a program in 
May 1977. Direct expenditures to implement the 
Alexandria program included $95 per member for 
an exercise physiologist and a cardiologist to 
evaluate each member's current physical and 
medical condition and prescribe a recommended 
conditioning program. In addition approximately 
$450 of equipment was purchased for each 
station.^ 

The Los Angeles and Alexandria expenditures 
appear to be fairly representative of direct costs 
in starting a well organized physical fitness pro- 
gram. More could be expended. For example, a 
detailed medical work-up would cost between 
$150 and $250 for each member. This would in- 
clude an EKG, chest X-ray, stress test and com- 
plete blood analysis. Most authorities agree that 
in many cases an extensive medical examination 
is not mandatory. The majority of members can 
be evaluated by an exercise physiologist or even 
by paramedical staff following prescribed guide- 
lines established by a competent medical advisor. 



'See Appendix F for detailed breakdown on Alexandria, Va., 
expenditures. 



This will greatly reduce costs. Equipment costs 
can also be high. However, there is no indication 
that this is required and only a few basic equip- 
ment items are necessary to have a successful 
program. 

The costs above are direct expenditures which 
were fairly simple to identify. Not so simple to 
assess are indirect costs — expenditures of time 
by department personnel in organizing a physical 
fitness program. For a period of time, the indirect 
costs may require fulltime assignment of a mem- 
ber of the department to coordinate and direct 
the development and implementation of the pro- 
gram. If fulltime assignment is not possible or con- 
sidered necessary, departments should expect that 
a fairly significant amount of personnel time will 
be required at the early stages. However, none 
of the departments surveyed considered these 
indirect expenditures to be excessive. In fact, 
several indicated that the development of the 
physical fitness program was simply assigned to 
a member of the department as an additional 
responsibility and therefore, they did not con- 
sider this effort as an extra expenditure. 

Once a physical fitness program is implemented 
there are few direct costs. Annual or other 
scheduled evaluations of how well members are 
progressing can usually be accomplished by fol- 
lowing simple indicators such as tracking weight 
and progress on the Kasch Bench Test. There will 
be some modest expense to maintain reporting 
systems. These indirect administrative or over- 
head costs appear to be minimal. No department 
surveyed believed that a department should be 
discouraged from starting a program for fear it 
costs a great deal to keep it operating. 

It was somewhat difficult to identify all of the 
indirect costs a department expended to initiate 
and maintain a physical fitness program. However, 
a reasonable estimate of direct cost can be made. 
For all practical purposes a department could 
initiate a program for only the cost of a manual — 
which in many cases are free. Members could be 
required to be cleared by their personal physician 
thereby relieving the department of any expense 
to evaluate a member's condition. A physical fit- 
ness program can be started without any equip- 
ment. 

The opposite end of the scale would be to 
conduct a complete physical evaluation of each 
fire fighter, including a stress test and equip- 
ping each station with a fairly extensive set of 
exercise equipment. Such a program would re- 
quire approximately $150-$300 per member for 
the examination (costs vary considerably depend- 



15 



ing on locale) and $500-$1,000 per station for D. Summary 
equipment. 

A program that falls somewhere between these There is clearly a high degree of interest in 

two extremes would require approximately $100 upgrading the physical fitness of fire service 

per member and $250-$500 per station. This personnel. To some extent this interest is moti- 

would provide consulting services of an exercise vated by current emphasis on the subject and 

physiologist to evaluate members and to assist might be termed faddism. On the other hand, 

in the initial training phase. It would also provide there is serious concern with fire fighter injuries 

for a basic assortment of desirable equipment and illness, particularly cardiovascular-related 

which can contribute to the success of the physi- illness. Physical fitness programs are seen as a 

cal fitness program. way to reduce these problems. 



16 



IV. Developing a Successful Program: Observations 
and Recommendations 



An objective of this study was to examine the 
physical fitness needs of the fire service and to 
identify what fire departments are doing to meet 
those needs. Equally important was the identifi- 
cation of factors that are necessary to organize 
and implement a successful physical fitness pro- 
gram. The results of the study allow one to make 
some relevant observations and provide recom- 
mendations which should improve the chances 
of success for those departments desiring to initi- 
ate a physical fitness program. 

A. Observations 

1. Although fire fighters from larger depart- 
ments are faced with a more frequent and stren- 
uous work load, fire fighters in smaller and volun- 
teer departments also have a need to upgrade 
and maintain physical fitness. Not unexpectedly, 
volunteer-type fire departments reported a much 
lower number of physical fitness programs. 
Nevertheless, the physical fitness needs for all fire 
fighters are basically the same. 

2. Although physical fitness is a subject of 
considerable interest and discussion there is little 
understanding of exactly what a physical fitness 
program should be. A large number of fire fight- 
ers believe that the fact that they periodically 
fight a fire is sufficient evidence that they are 
physically fit. An equally large number of fire 
officers perceive a physical fitness program as 
nothing more than providing a few minutes each 
day for calisthenics. 

3. This study revealed that less than 20% of 
the departments surveyed had any type of active 
physical fitness program, in addition a number of 
programs reported to be active were found to be 
only halfhearted efforts with little, if any, real 
benefit. There are a relatively small number of 
well organized, viable physical fitness programs 
currently in operation. 

4. There appears to be a high rate of failure of 
physical fitness programs. Nearly 40% of the 
programs examined in this study were classed as 
inactive. A substantial number of those reported 



as active were in fact, found to be halfhearted or 
sporadic efforts. Programs implemented as a fad 
with little or no planning and organization are 
short lived. Compulsory programs that are based 
on a systematic and coordinated approach have 
a much higher survival rate. 

5. Fire fighter understanding and acceptance 
is critical to the success of a physical fitness 
program. Fire fighters do not relate to arguments 
that improved physical fitness will have organi- 
zational benefits such as reduced illness or injur- 
ies. The fire fighter must be convinced or at least 
accept, that improved physical fitness has a direct 
personal benefit. In addition fire fighters should 
recognize they have an obligation to their co- 
workers to be physically fit. 

6. Most fire departments have not developed 
a reporting system to support the value of a 
physical fitness program. Records that demon- 
strate the individual health improvements and the 
organizational cost/benefits would be helpful in 
creating and maintaining interest. 

7. There appears to be a very high interest in 
improving the physical fitness of the fire fighter. 
The study revealed that although only a few 
departments currently had a program, the over- 
whelming majority (70%) indicated an interest 
and in fact reported they were planning to imple- 
ment a program. However, a large number of 
interested departments expressed the need for 
more information on how to plan and organize a 
physical fitness program. 

B. Developing a Successful Physical 
Fitness Program 

This study has indicated that there are a num- 
ber of common denominators among those pro- 
grams which were found to be successful. These 
program features are considered to be essential 
to the success of a physical fitness program. 

7. Program Concept — A physical fitness pro- 
gram is more than an exercise activity. In order 
to be fully effective a physical fitness program 
must include efforts to reduce the other risk 



17 



factors found to seriously effect the health and 
performance of fire fighters. The most important 
of these are overweight and cigarette smoking. A 
physical fitness program must therefore be under- 
stood to include a continuing physical condi- 
tioning effort, weight maintenance and efforts to 
encourage and even assist personnel in reducing 
their smoking habits. 

2. Program Support — A successful physical fit- 
ness program will require the cooperation of fire 
department management and labor. Equally im- 
portant is the support of the community's elected 
and appointed officials. There should be a joint 
effort between all three initiated during the very 
early stages to assure adequate participation in 
developing the program and to assist in com- 
municating with department members. 

3. Medical Advice — The nature of a physical 
fitness program requires that a department have 
early and continuing medical advice. In selecting 
a physician advisor some care will be required to 
assure that the physician has the interest and 
knowledge of exercise physiology. A more de- 
sirable arrangement would be a medical advisory 
team composed of a physician and an exercise 
physiologist. 

4. Program Supervision — In addition to the 
medical advisory team a physicial fitness program 
will require establishing supervisory responsi- 
bility. The overall departmental coordination and 
supervision can probably be best accomplished 
by the Training Officer. A number of larger de- 
partments appear to be establishing a separate 
position to coordinate the program. The most 
important requirement is that the total program 
responsibility be located at a high enough level 
in the organization so that personnel recognize 
the importance of the program and to assure a 
coordinated effort. In addition to establishing a 
departmental focal point it is essential that district 
and station supervisors are made responsible for 
the successful conduct of the program by all per- 
sonnel under their command. A successful pro- 
gram cannot be achieved if the routine chain of 
command and accountability is bypassed. 

5. Indoctrination and Training — A critical re- 
quirement of a successful physical fitness program 
is the indoctrination and training of all members 
in the department. Initially this requires that 
members be instructed on why physical fitness is 
so important to their individual health and well- 
being. This learning process will take considerable 
time and effort. The medical advisory team should 
have the primary responsibility of this training 
effort. Indoctrination of personnel must also be 
designed to establish a positive, rather than a 
negative outlook. It cannot be expected that 



every member of the department will enthu- 
siastically enter into the program. However, with 
proper explanation and training a majority of 
members will at least accept and participate to 
an acceptable degree. Management has a special 
responsibility to reassure members that a physical 
fitness program is not some scheme to "get rid 
of the dead wood," an opinion that prevails in 
some departments. 

One successful method to counter rumors and 
to reassure personnel is establishing a continuing 
flow of communication either through meetings 
or reports answering the most frequently raised 
questions. The importance of prompt, accurate 
and continuing communication cannot be over- 
emphasized as its lack has contributed to the 
downfall of many programs. 

A particularly important aspect of the indoc- 
trination is the training of the supervisory per- 
sonnel who will actually implement and direct 
the program. Not only is this a vital link in achiev- 
ing improved communications and support, it is 
important in reducing injuries. 

There are indications that some injuries can 
be expected, especially in the early start-up pe- 
riod. The primary reason appears to be individ- 
uals attempting to do too much, too soon. Per- 
sonnel who are in poor physical condition have 
taken years to reach that status and improvement 
is not to be made in a single exercise session. The 
njmber and seriousness of injuries can be con- 
trolled by training personnel to proceed slowly. 

6. Pretesting Personnel — Prior to starting a 
physical exercise program it is important to eval- 
uate each member's condition. There appears to 
be some difference of opinion as to the extent of 
a medical examination which should be re- 
quired. In some cases it has been recommended 
that each member must undergo a complete 
physical examination including stress testing, 
chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, and blood analy- 
sis. Such a detailed examination would cost ap- 
proximately $150-$250 for each member which 
could serve to deter establishing a program. 

The majority of experienced physicians and 
exercise physiologists consulted during this study 
agreed that a comprehensive medical examination 
might be desirable. However, these experts also 
agreed that the overwhelming majority of indi- 
viduals could begin an exercise program if they 
meet two requirements — a blood pressure not 
exceeding 140/90 and completion of the Kasch 
Bench Test with a heart rate of 130 beats per 
minute or less. In addition, personnel can be 
evaluated using a medical history questionnaire 
to determine if physician follow-up should be 
required prior to beginning a program. 



18 



In a small number of cases where a member 
cannot pass the basic tests it will be necessary 
to obtain an individual medical evaluation. A 
personalized program of rehabilitation can then 
be prescribed to bring the member up to the 
point where he can participate in the physical 
fitness program. 

7. Exercise Program — A major component of 
any physical fitness program will be the exercises 
designed to develop and maintain the cardio- 
vascular system as well as the muscular skeletal 
system. An exercise schedule that does not meet 
both of these essential needs is unsatisfactory. 

As a general rule the exercise period will re- 
quire approximately 45 minutes divided into four 
categories: 

Warm-up — 5 minutes 
Muscular Conditioning — 15 minutes 
Cardiovascular Conditioning — 20 minutes 
Cool-down — 5 minutes 
The warm-up period is important to minimize 
injuries and prepare the body for the more stren- 
uous activity to follow. Light calisthenics, walk- 
ing and flexibility exercises are generally recom- 
mended. 

The muscular conditioning phase will require 
a number of exercises to improve strength and 
flexibility. These exercises include sit-ups, push- 
ups, and other common lifting or stretching 
exercises. 

Cardiovascular conditioning is accomplished by 
jogging, bench stepping, cycling or skipping rope. 
Regardless of the technique, the objective is to 
perform at an intensity that will raise the heart- 
beat rate to approximately 70-85% of its maxi- 
mum for 15-20 minutes. This must be performed 
a minimum of three times p^r week and prefer- 
ably on a more frequent schedule. 

Upon completion of the exertion phase of the 
exercise period, a cool-down phase is recom- 
mended in order to allow the heart rate to grad- 
ually return to its regular beat. This can be 
accomplished by walking or a repeat of the very 
light calisthenics used during the warm-up period. 
A department has the option of designing its 
own exercise program or selecting an existing 
packaged program. In either case the require- 
ment is to have a program which provides all of 
the essential components discussed above. 



8. Evaluating the Program — Except for a rela- 
tively few departments, very little has been done 
to establish reporting systems to evaluate the 
effectiveness of physical fitness programs, if per- 
sonnel are to support a physical fitness program 
they must be able to see how their effort has 
personal benefit. Periodic recording of individual 
blood pressures, weight and exercise heart rate 
will begin to show a rate of progressive improve- 
ment. 

It is also important for the organization to 
maintain records that will demonstrate the cost/ 
benefit of a physical fitness program. In addition 
to the general health indicators above, the de- 
partment should maintain reports on time lost to 
injury and illness, compensation claims and dis- 
ability retirement. These data and reporting sys- 
tems should be designed to allow analysis of the 
impact of the physical fitness program. 

Conclusion 

There are a combination of benefits to be 
achieved in" implementing a physical fitness pro- 
gram. For the individual there is the high proba- 
bility of improved health and a longer life. Indi- 
viduals will also be able to improve their per- 
formance level and work capacity. 

Benefits to the organization are also important. 
The probability that in-line of duty injuries will 
decrease has been demonstrated in Los Angeles. 
Deaths and service connected disability retire- 
ments should also be reduced. This would be 
especially true for coronary heart disease — the 
nemesis of the fire fighter. 

Ironically fire fighters may initially resist a 
physical fitness program even though it is they 
who stand to benefit the most. Nevertheless, 
every fire department should implement a com- 
pulsory program. Where there is adequate plan- 
ning, organization and training, personnel tend 
to be supportive or at least willing to accept the 
program. 

Upgrading physical fitness and performance is 
not a short range project. Most fire fighters have 
spent a lifetime reaching their physical current 
state. If their condition is less than satisfactory it 
will take some time to improve. Regardless, the 
fire service needs to begin that effort now. 



19 



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. Recommended Standards for Fire Fighters with 

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. Proceedings of a Symposium on Occupational 

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23 



Kiell, Paul ). and Frelinghuysen, Joseph. Keep Your 
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Leonard Jon N. et al. Live Longer Now. New York: 
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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Physiologi- 
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Merck, Sharp & Dohme. The Hypertension Handbook. 
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Myers, Clayton R.; Golding, Lawrence A.; and Sinning, 
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Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters. "State and Inter- 
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Morehouse, Laurence E. and Rasch, Philip ). Scientific 
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Morehouse, Laurence E. and Gross, Leonard, Total 
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Myers, Clayton R. The Official YMCA Physical Fitness 
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National Athletic Health Institute. Health Improve- 
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National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. 
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National Fire Protection Association. Fire Fighter Pro- 
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National Institute of Health. Hypertension — High 
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New York Times. "70 Million Aching Backs," San 
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N.D.M. Corporation. How to Take the Strain Out of 
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Paffenbarger, R. S., and Hale, W. E., Work Activity 
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Panuccio, R. T. "Westminster Fire Department Guide 
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Perry, H. Allen. "Almost Everyone Has Back Trouble," 
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Peters, John M. et al. "Chronic Effect of Firefighting 
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24 



President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 
Physical Fitness Research Digest, Washington, D.C., 
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Pollock, M. L. et al. "El^ects of Frequency of Training 
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Robinson, Corrine H. Basic Nutrition and Diet Ther- 
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Ross, R., and Glomset, J. A. "The Pathogenesis of 
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Runner's World Magazine. Exercises for Runners. 
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193. 



25 



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1969. 



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. Exercise Your Way to Fitness and Heart Health. 

CPC International, Inc., 1974. 



FIRE DEPARTMENT PHYSICAL FITNESS PROGRAM MANUALS 



Appleton Fire Department 

700 N. Drew St. 
Appleton, Wl 54911 

Albuquerque Fire Department 
P.O. Box 258 
Albuquerque, NM 87103 

Altamonte Springs Fire Department 
924 Galloway Dr. 
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 

Kern County Fire Department 
1025 Golden State Hwy. 
Bakersfield, CA 93301 

Los Altos Fire Department 

10 Almond Ave. 

Los Altos, CA 94022 

L.A. City Fire Department 
200 N. Main St. 
L.A., CA 90012 

L.A. County Fire Department 
2009 Term Annex 
L.A., CA 90054 

Lynwood Fire Department 
3161 Imperial Blvd. 
Lynwood, CA 90054 

Miami Fire Department 
Miame Fire College 
3700 N.W. 7th Ave. 
Miami, FL 33127 

Mobile Fire Department 

701 St. Francis St. 
Mobile, AL 36602 

Multnomah County Fire Department 
1927 S.E. 174th Ave. 
Portland, OR 97233 

New York City Fire Department 

Chief In Charge 

Personnel Division 

Fire Department 

110 Church St. 

N.Y., NY 10007 

Oakland Fire Department 
Headquarters Station 
1330 Grove St. 
Oakland, CA 94612 



Palo Alto Fire Department 
250 Hamilton Ave. 
Palo Alto, CA 94301 

Portsmouth Fire Department 
361 Effingham St. 
Portsmouth, VA 23704 

Arlington Fire Department 
401 West Main 
Arlington, TX 76010 

Atlanta Fire Department 
46 Courtland St., S.E. 
Atlanta, GA 30303 

Bellevue Fire Department 
Emergency & Safety Services Group 
P.O. Box 1768 
Bellevue, WA 93003 

Carson City Fire Department 
111 N. Curry St. 
Carson City, NV 89701 

Charlotte Fire Department 
125 S. Davidson St. 
Charlotte, NC 28202 

Cincinnati Fire Department 
Department of Safety 
Division of Fire 
Fire Administration Building 
430 Central Ave. 
Cincinnati, OH 45202 

Cobb County Fire Department 
P.O. Box 649 
Marietta, GA 30061 

Enid Fire Department 
215 South Independence 
Enid, OK 73701 

Fairfax County Fire Department 

Fire & Rescue Services, County of Fairfax 

Fairfax, VA 22030 

Fitchburg Fire Department 
28 Oliver St. 
Fitchburg, MA 01420 

Great Falls Fire Department 

105 95th So. 

Great Falls, MT 59401 



26 



Randolph Fire Department 
Memorial Dr. 
Randolph, MA 02368 

Salt Lake County Fire Department 

2690 South Main St. 

Salt Lake City, UT 84115 

San Diego Fire Department 

1222 1st Ave. 

San Diego, CA 90401 

Sea Pines Forest Beach Fire Department 

P.O. Box 5193 

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 

Seattle Fire Department 
301 2nd Ave. South 
Seattle, WA 98104 



Tuscon Fire Department 
265 S. Church 
Tucson, AZ 85710 

Twin Falls Fire Department 
345 2nd Ave. E. 
Twin Falls, ID 83301 

U.S. Forestry Service 
H.E.W. South 
330CSt., S.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20201 

LI.S. Secret Service 
Department of the Treasury 
1800 est., N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20023 

Ventura County Fire Department 
275 E. Pleasant Valley 
Camarillo, CA 93010 



27 



Appendix A 



The following persons served as members of the Task Force to analyze 
all information and data. Their role in developing the recommendations was 
particularly important. 

Harvey T. Anderson, Division Assistant Chief (Retired), Los Angeles 
County Fire Department. Chairman of the lAFC Committee on Physical 
Fitness. 

George Alexander, Director of Fire and Rescue Services, Fairfax County, 
Virginia. Member of the lAFC Metropolitan Committee. 

Paul O. Davis, Ph.D., Exercise Physiologist, University of Maryland. Mem- 
ber of the lAFC Medical Section. 

Benjamin A. Hoover, II, M.D., F.A.C.P., York, Pennsylvania. Chairman of 
the lAFC Medical Section. 

Harold R. Stinchcomb, Fire Chief, Sarasota, Florida. President, lAFC South- 
eastern Division. 



29 



Appendix B 

Questionnaire #1 
Fire Fighters Physical Fitness Programs 



Name of Fire Department 
Address 



Telephone 

Person completing form 



Instructions: Please complete the following questions by filling in the blanks or checking the 
appropriate boxes. Please include additional descriptions or explanations as needed. Thank you. 

1. When did your fire department start a physical fitness program? (month/year) 

What motivated you to start a physical fitness program? 



2. Is your fire department using a standard physical fitness program? D yes Q no 

If yes, which one? -> D President's Council on Physical Fitness and 

n Aerobics Sports (specify) 

n Apollo Fitness Program D other (specify) 

D 5 BX (Canadian Air Force) 



If no, what type of activities are included in your physical fitness program? (check all appli- 
cable) 

n walking D weight lifting 

D jogging/running D group sports 

D calisthentics D other (specify) 

n isometrics 



3. Is there a regular time when your physical fitness program is conducted? □ yes n no 

If yes, when? (specify time of day or shift) 

how long? (minutes per session) 

how often? — (days per week) 



31 



4. Which fire department personnel are included in your physical fitness program? (check al 
applicable) 

D recruits D staff personnel 

D firefighters D all personnel 

D line officers D other (specify) 



5. If your physical fitness program supervised? D yes D no 
If yes, who is the overall coordinator/director of your physical fitness program? (name/title) 



Who supervises each session? 

n company officer D battalion/district chief 

D station commander □ other (specify) 



6. Is your physical fitness program D voluntary D compulsory? What "motivational techniques/ 
incentives" do you use to encourage participation? 



7. Do you have a method of measuring the "benefit/success" of your physical fitness program? 
D yes n no 

if yes, do you monitor: (check all applicable) 

D blood pressure D job performance (specify) 

n pulse rate 



n aerobic capacity D vveight reduction/increase 
n injury reduction □ other (specify) 



8. Is a medical examination for fire fighters required by your fire department? D yes D no 

If yes, when? (check all applicable) 

n entry into fire department D prior to physical fitness program 

n annually D other (specify) 

D overage 



Are medical records kept on each fire fighter? G yes □ no 

9. Do you maintain records/statistics on your fire department's: (check all applicable) 

n firefighter injuries D overtime costs due to injuries or heart attacks 

n fire fighter heart attacks D workman's compensation benefit payments 

D time/shifts lost due to injuries or heart D fire fighter disability retirements 

attacks D other (specify) _ ■ 



32 



10. What do you think have been the "benefits" of your physical fitness program? 



11. What, if any, "problems" have you encountered in implementing your physical fitness pro- 
gram? — 



12. What, if anything, might be done to improve your current type of physical fitness program? 



Please make any additional comments that you may have concerning your physical fitness program. 
Thank you. 



33 



Questionnaire #2 
Fire Fighter Physical Fitness Programs 



Name of Fire Department 
Address 



Telephone 

Person completing form 



Instructions: Please complete the following questions by filling in the blanks or checking the 
appropriate boxes. Please include additional descriptions or explanations as needed. Thank you. 

1. When did your fire department start/stop its physical fitness program? Start 

. _ Stop 



What motivated you to start a physical fitness program? 



Why was the physical fitness program discontinued? 

n budgetary constraints D resistance (fire department personnel) 

n no benefits D resistance (by public) 

n lack of participation D lost time from duty 

n injuries D other (specify) . 



2. Did your fire department use a standard physical fitness program? Dyes □ no 

If yes, which one? 

D Aerobics □ President's Council on Physical Fitness and 

n Apollo Fitness Program Sports (specify) 

n other (specify) 



n 5 BX (Canadian Air Force) □ other (specify) 



If no, what type of activities were included in your physical fitness program? (check all applicable) 

n walking n weight lifting 

n jogging/running D group sports 

n calisthenics D other (specify) 



3. Was there a regular time when your physical fitness program was conducted? D yes D no 

If yes, when? —— - (specify time of day or shift) 

how long? — ■ (minutes per session) 

how often? (days per week) 

34 



4. Which fire department personnel were included in your physical fitness program? (check al 
applicable) 



D recruits 
n firefighters 
n line officers 



n staff personnel 
D all personnel 
□ other (specify) ■ 



5. Was your physical fitness program supervised? n yes □ no 
If yes, who was the overall coordinator/director of your physical fitness program? (name/title 



Who supervised each session? 
n company officer 
n station commander 



D battalion/district chief 
D other (specify) 



6. Was your physical fitness program D voluntary D compulsory? What "motivational tech- 
niques/incentives" did you use to encourage participation? 



7. Did you have a method of measuring the "benefits/success" of your physical fitness program? 
D yes n no 



If yes, did you monitor: 

D blood pressure 

n pulse rate 

G aerobic capacity 

D weight reduction/increase 



n injury reduction 

D job performance (specify) 



8. Was a medical examination for fire fighters required by your fire department? D yes □ no 



If yes, when? (check all applicable) 
D entry into fire department 
D prior to physical fitness program 
n other (specify) 



n annually 
n over age . 



Were medical records kept on each fire fighter? D yes D no 

9. Do you maintain records/statistics on your fire department's: (check all applicable) 



n firefighter injuries 

n fire fighter heart attacks 

n time/shifts lost due to injuries or heart attacks 

n workman's compensation benefit payments 

n fire fighter disability retirements 

n other (specify) . . . 



35 



10. What major problems did you encounter in implementing your physical fitness program? 



11. What changes would you have made to improve your physical fitness program? 



Please make any additional comments that you may have concerning your physical fitness program. 
Thank you. 



36 



Appendix C 



Fire Departments Selected for Personal Contact 

As a result of the detailed questionnaire the following fire departments were selected for field 
survey or other personal contact: 



Alexandria, VA 
Alhambra, CA 
Altamonte Springs, FL 
Charlotte, NC 
Cincinnati, OH 
Columbia, MO 
County of Fairfax, VA 
Downey, CA 
El Monte, CA 
Fitchburg, MA 
Goldenrod, FL 
Haddon Heights, NJ 
Idaho Falls, ID 
Jacksonville, FL 
Littleton, CO 
Loma Linda, CA 
Los Angeles City, CA 
Los Angeles County, CA 
Lynwood, CA 



Minneapolis, MN 
Montebello, CA 
Oklahoma City, OK 
Orange County, CA 
Orlando, FL 
Orlando, FL (Killarney) 
Pasadena, CA 
Pocatello, ID 
St. Augustine, FL 
St. Petersburg, FL 
San Bernardino City, CA 
San Diego, CA 
San Francisco, CA 
Santa Fe Springs, CA 
Santa Monica, CA 
Sarasota, FL 
Spring Valley, CA 
Takoma Park, MD 
Torrance, CA 



37 



Appendix D 

Commercial Physical Fitness Programs 
Used by Some Fire Departments 



Aerobics by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. 
Contact: Bantam Books, Inc. 

666 Fifth Avenue 

New York, New York 10010 
Price: $1.75 

Official Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans for Physical Fitness (5BX), revised U.S. Edition by the 
Royal Canadian Air Force. 

Contact: Pocket Books, Inc. 
630 Fifth Avenue 
New York, New York 10020 
Price: $1.00 

Note: The 5BX has recently been replaced by the Fit Kit. 
Contact: Health and Welfare 
Attn: Publishing 
Brooke Claxton Building 
Ottawa, Ontario K1H0K9 

Physical Fitness for Fire Fighters by The Travelers Insurance Company in cooperation with the Presi- 
dent's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports 
Contact: West Glenn Films 

A Service of West Glenn Communications, inc. 
565 Fifth Avenue 
New York, New York 10017 
Price: Free 

Apollo Fitness Program by Anthony A. Abbott 
Contact: Fitness Motivation Institute 

Bassett Building, Suite A-4 

215 Century 21 Drive 

Jacksonville, Florida 32216 
Price: Approximately $50.00 

Physical Fitness and The Fire Service by Donald T. Jacobs 
Contact: National Fire Protection Association 
470 Atlantic Avenue 
Boston, Massachusetts 02210 
Price: $6.00 



39 



Appendix E 

Kasch 12-Inch Bench Test Used by the 
Los Angeles City Fire Department 

KASCH 12-INCH BENCH TEST: This is a simple safe sub-maximal test of cardiovascular condition. It 
can be performed by all age groups and only the extremely unfit will find it too strenuous. 

A. Equipment: 

1. 12-inch-high bench 

2. Clock timer (second hand required) 

3. Metronome 

B. Conditions: 

1. Temperature 60 to 75 degrees. 

2. Performer wearing athletic shoes, athletic or light clothing. 

3. Performer should be under the care of a doctor for any ailment that would be adversely af- 
fected by mild exertion. 

4. Performer should rest 5 minutes before test and should not smoke or eat for 1 hour prior to 
test. 

5. One or more persons may perform test at the same time. 

C. Instructions: 

1. Record resting heart rate. 

2. Step for 3 minutes on the 12-inch bench at a rate of 24 steps per minute (2 full steps every 5 
seconds, 96 counts per minute). 

3. Sequence of stepping is: 

a. Stand facing bench, feet together. 

b. Step up on bench with right foot. Step on bench with left foot. Stand with legs and back 
straight. 

c. Step down to floor with right foot. Stand erect on floor with both feet. 

d. Repeat the steps (four counts) starting with the left foot. 

e. Continue stepping, alternating lead foot for the desired repetitions per minute for three min- 
utes. 

KASCH ONE MINUTE HEART RECOVERY RATE: System used to classify degree of fitness of an indi- 
vidual from the work imposed by the Step Test. 

A. Sequence for Recording Heart Rate 

1. When performer completes test (3 minutes) he sits on bench immediately and within 5 sec- 
onds, start the following. . . . 

2. Take and record the heart rate for one full minute. Compare total with the standards chart to 
find corresponding level of fitness. 

41 



B. Fitness Level Standards: 

1. Excellent equals 78 & under 

2. Very Good equals 79 — 86 

3. Average equals 87 — 99 

4. Below Average equals 100 — 107 

5. Poor equals 108 — 118 

6. Very Poor equals 119 — Above 

Any member who has a total recovery heart rate of more than 130 beats per minute will be referred 
to the Physical Fitness Unit for medical follow-up. This member will participate in Level I Warm-Up 
Flexibility and Conditioning Exercises only until such time as he is cleared for full participation. 



42 



Appendix F 

Alexandria, Virginia Implementation Costs 



EQUIPMENT 



Each 



1 Monarch Ergometer Cycle 
8 Schwinn Exercise Cycles 
8 Chin-up Bars 
8 YorkllO AC Weight Sets 
8 3'X8' Plastic Exercise Mats 
1 Continental Medical Scale 
1 Skinfold Scientific Calipers 
1 Vernier Calipers 



PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS* (183 of Each) 

Basic Test Package 
Cardiologist Interpretation Fee 
Blood Tests (SMA 23) 



$535.00 


$ 535.00 


141.95 


1,135.60 


9.00 


72.00 


44.00 


352.00 


44.00 


352.00 


108.90 


108.90 


125.00 


125.00 


70.00 


70.00 


Sub-Total 


$ 2,750.50 


$ 75.00 


$13,725.00 


10.00 


1,830.00 


10.00 


1,830.00 



TOTAL $20,135.50 



• Physical Examination consisted of: Resting and stress EKC, medical history report, anthropometric determination of body 
composition, static and dynamic blood pressure, interpretation of all data and tests to provide an exercise prescription for each 
member. 



43 



i; U.S. Government Printing Office: 1977—244-897/6556